Round-Up: Arena del Río in Barranquilla

Based in Barranquilla, Arena del Rio is the first multi-faceted urban project of its kind in the Colombian Caribbean region. Announced for 2024, it will be the most innovative and creative entertainment complex in Latin America.

Colombia will have a new actor in the Latin American MICE industry. Barranquilla will strengthen the national offer in the northern part of the country, putting it on a par with Bogota, Medellin, and Cartagena.

“This venture reaffirms Colombia’s positive momentum as an investment destination and main meeting point for national and international tourism. The Arena will be a place for all kinds of events and meetings,” stated Tatyana Orozco, president of Arena del Río.

This new large-format project will involve US$ 407 million of domestic and foreign private investment. It will extend along 31 hectares in front of the Great Malecon of Barranquilla and the Magdalena River.

The Vast Structure of the New Smart City

Two Ways Stadiums and UMUSIC Hotels are developing the complex with support from Universal Music Group, Dakia U-Ventures, and AECOM (a leader in stadium innovation and smart city design). Arena Del Rio is expected to have a $1.25 billion investment impact in the area, generating 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The new smart city will feature various event facilities, with a multipurpose stadium as the central component with a capacity for up to 53,000 people.

As the first stadium in Colombia with a retractable roof and a retractable field, it will accommodate a variety of activities, from soccer games to concerts and major events. It will also have three auditoriums and a clubhouse, ideal for meetings and conferences.

The development will include a music and sports museum, a virtual reality park, 350 suites, 100 apartments, 120 offices, 100 retail spaces, including bars, restaurants, a marina with four piers, and a semi-Olympic-size swimming pool.

In addition, Universal Studios’ first luxury hotel outside the U.S. will be built in the stadium, offering 500 rooms and its own meeting spaces.

“This project will boost Colombia’s competitiveness as an ideal destination for meeting tourism in the region. It will undoubtedly help international markets to have our country on their radar for meetings that generate significant economic benefits,” said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.

A Major Impact on the Colombian Caribbean Economic Development

Barranquilla is a port city with the magic of the Caribbean and radiant culture. It was chosen for this significant investment because it meets all the conditions that will help Arena del Río to be the beginning of unprecedented socio-economic development.

“Colombia is recovering from the pandemic faster than any other in the region. It is projected to grow 4.9% in 2021, compared to 3.8% for Latin America, partly as a result of its efforts to strengthen relationships with U.S. companies and position itself as a nearshoring location,” added Tatyana Orozco.

Arena del Rio will be strategically located near three international airports, facilitating its connectivity and access. It is expected to generate more business and investment opportunities for the benefit of the “barranquilleros.”

Barranquilla is an attractive destination for international companies, thanks to its political and economic stability and a dynamic and constantly growing market.

In closing, we should note that Colombia was chosen among the “52 Places to Love in 2021” by the New York Times.



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